Safe Lifting Practices for Avoiding Back/Neck Injuries
People hurt their backs and necks in many ways, often while performing basic or everyday tasks. However, while all these tasks may be unavoidable, the same is not true for the injuries caused by them. With the following safe lifting practices for avoiding back/neck injuries, everyone can avoid back and neck injuries every day of the year.
Lift with the Knees, Not the Back
When it comes to safe lifting practices for avoiding back/neck injuries, just about everyone has heard the phrase “Lift with the knees, not the back.” This is actually the best way to avoid injuries while lifting. But, it does not simply mean bend the knees; it means squat down to lift the package while bending the hips and keeping the back straight. To stand, instead of rolling the back or neck, keep the back straight and simply use your leg muscles – not your back muscles — to straighten the knees. When squatting to lift a heavy package off the ground it is important not to twist the back as this can also lead to injury.
But while it is important to be mindful of the knees and hips while lifting, it is just as important to keep in mind what the shoulders are doing. Twisting the shoulders around can also twist and injure the back. To avoid this, always keep the shoulders in line with the hips. And when changing the directions, move the hips first to naturally move the shoulders in the same direction. If the shoulders move first, the back can twist and lead to injury. Once someone lifts a package or item, it is then important to remember to keep it close to the body. As the item moves away from the body, it requires more force to hold it, putting more pressure on the neck and back.
Extending the Body
Sometimes another type of lift causes injury, such as when pulling items out of a store bin or picking things up off the floor. When doing this, do not actually bend the knees, instead extend one leg behind the body. This forces the opposite hip to bend and become nearly parallel with the floor, providing a counterbalance. The body’s balance will still be slightly off, so it is important to hold onto another object, such as a counter or the side of the bin, for extra balance.
Practice Safe Lifting Technique
Lifting and straining can result in serious injuries to the back and neck. By practicing safe lifting practices for avoiding back/neck injuries, those injuries can easily be prevented. However, in the event that you do hurt your back or neck, an Elite Spine & Orthopedic physician can evaluate your injury and determine the best options for recovery. If you need an appointment, call (727) 807-3114.